Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ghraybeh cookies - deceptively simple, not so easy to master.


These naughty little sephardic tidbits are deceptively simple. With 4 ingredients, (sugar, flour, butter, pistachios - and I added lemon oil) they are one of THE most difficult doughs to work with 

First, crack, blanch and de-skin pistachios.

'Omi Girl' was with me for moral support.

'Geula' parchment paper has some pretty unique features. I am not sure what "No scrab cleanup" is, nor why that cleanup would move from the freezer to oven and then to the microwave. However, it sounds pretty nifty and I am sure it will come in handy one of these days. However, this particular parchment paper can not be used for baking steaks. Oh well, can't have everything...

Clarified, um, margarine. (Sorry, this had to be parve.)

La-di-da, when I finish with this it will be a nice, smooth easy to work with dough, right?

Wrong! This is about as together as it got, even after I added an extra half of a cup of margarine ghee.

Here are some pointers, (since I learned this the hard way.)

Roll only with your fingertips!

Use the bench scraper to periodically scrap off the excess dough from the board so it will roll smoothly. Don't use your hands to transfer it to the cookie sheet, use the bench scraper or a spatula.

From right to left, this is how you roll it. Crumble into a ball. Roll it out. When long enough. start gently picking up the roll and folding it little by little inwards, being careful to bend it as evenly as possible. If it is not evenly rounded enough or if you handle it just a tad to hard, it will break. Over lap the fat end over the thin end.

This dough is so fragile. CHILL IT! Even this does not help completely. Sometimes, when you are just about finished rolling it out it will completely fall apart on you and you will have to start again. Um, and again and sometime again.

To get the pistachio in without breaking it, make the incision with the bench scraper or a knife. I also remove a smidgen of the dough to make room for it. Be careful not to put the pistachio in too loosely as they tend to fall out after the cookie is baked.

You can see I got better as I made them from the bottom right to the top left.

I used a modified version of the recipe in Arromas of Allepo who in turn seems to have taken in directly from the original Deal Delights (red) cookbook.